What You Should Know About Laser Hair Removal
About Laser Hair Removal
Laser hair removal is a medical procedure that uses a pulsating light beam (a laser beam) in order to eliminate unwanted hair on the body. Laser hair removal does not guarantee that your hair will never grow back in the area where the treatment was performed. However, the laser beam damages the hair follicle in a way that inhibits the future growth of hair. With several treatments and periodic maintenance, you can enjoy an extended hair-free period and minimal hair regrowth.
How Laser Hair Removal Works
Laser hair removal can be performed on a variety of body parts. For example, it is common for people to opt for laser hair removal on their legs, armpits, upper lip, chin and bikini line. You can, however, use a laser to remove hair on almost any body part where you are experiencing unwanted hair growth (except for the area surrounding the eye). Dr. Raphael Darvish, a Los Angeles, California Dermatologist explains how the laser hair removal procedure works.
When you undergo laser hair removal, the professional performing the treatment may first:
1. Trim the hair in the area with a pair of scissors.
2. The provider may apply a topical anesthetic cream to the skin in order to minimize discomfort and/or a cooling gel to protect the skin. A hand-held laser will then be pressed to the skin.
The laser will be activated once it is pressed to the designated area and the laser beam will pass through the skin into the hair follicles where hair growth originates. The laser beam will produce an intense heat that damages the follicles in order to prevent regrowth of hair.
Is Laser Hair Removal Painful?
You may feel slight discomfort during and immediately after the procedure. If a small area is being treated, such as the upper lip, the entire process may take just a few minutes. If a larger area is treated, such as the arms, the process could take several hours.
After the procedure, you can apply ice, cream or lotions to relieve any mild discomfort you may feel. You should avoid exposure to the sun, especially while the skin is heeling. The process tends to work best on those with light skin and dark hair.
Four to six treatments, spaced several weeks apart, may be necessary to achieve the desired results, and then periodic maintenance may be needed every six months to a year.
Choosing a Provider
It is important to remember that laser hair removal is a medical procedure. You should look for a doctor to perform your treatment and ensure that the doctor is board certified in cosmetic surgery, dermatology or a related discipline. Choose a skilled doctor with relevant laser hair removal experience.
In some cases, people choose to have the procedure performed by a licensed nurse or a physician’s assistant instead of a doctor. You should be cautious about choosing this option, and even more cautious about considering a salon or spa that allows someone with no medical training to perform the procedure.
Complications or problems could develop that have lasting and dangerous side effects if the treatment is performed by someone without the requisite skill. If you choose to have the procedure performed by someone without medical training, be sure that a doctor is available on site during the procedure in case something goes wrong.
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